Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adoption Book Giveaway: "Love Me, Feed Me: The Adoptive Parent's Guide to Ending the Worry About Weight, Picky Eating, Power Struggles and More" by Katja Rowell, MD

I was eager to receive the copy I ordered of Love Me, Feed Me: The Adoptive Parent's Guide to Ending the Worry About Weight, Picky Eating, Power Struggles and More (aff) by Katja Rowell, M.D., when it was finally released last month. I've been following feeding specialist Dr. Rowell's blog and tweets for a while, and have found her approach to the parent-child feeding relationship so sane that it almost seems insane. I knew I'd like the book but I didn't know I would literally read it cover-to-cover (all 354 pages!) in 24 hours. And I certainly didn't know it would seriously challenge me to think about what my actions and words are teaching my children about food and eating and weight.

Parents I know who have children adopted from foster care and orphanages deal are parenting kids with food/feeding issues such as:
  • Slow growth / failure to thrive, sometimes leading to feeding tube placement
  • Difficulty transitioning from formula to solid food
  • Picky/selective eating
  • Sensory issues including texture aversions
  • Malnutrition
  • Underweight and overweight
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Food hoarding
  • Meltdowns at meal time and other difficult behaviors
  • Bingeing
  • Control issues regarding food
  • Oral motor and other physical feeding challenges
This book deals with all of these issues, and more. It focuses on trusting children's ability to learn to self-regulate around food and rejecting the common approaches of coercion, game-playing, force-feeding, guilt trips, pressure and bribery that many of us use to get our children to eat more of what we consider healthy foods. Dr. Rowell's book really turns everything you think you know about feeding picky, overweight, underweight, vegetable-hating, malnourished or even totally average children on its head. It forces you to rethink your own relationship to food and all your beliefs about whether or not children can be trusted to choose what foods they wish to eat and still get their nutritional needs met. It may even go against advice given to you by your dietitian, doctor or speech therapist. But, as many adoptive and non-adoptive parents can attest, it is a proven method that works for so many families. Dr. Rowell has seen this non-coercive, low-pressure, shame-free approach to eating help even children with severe feeding issues thrive and learn to be "competent eaters."

Love Me, Feed Me reflects the authors' familiarity with the issues of foster and adopted childrens from backgrounds of abuse, neglect or institutionalization. She goes over adoption-specific issues such as the cultural differences in feeding practices that may challenge your internationally adopted child when they arrive in your home, the transition diet to help a child get accustomed to a very different diet in your home than what they experienced in a foster home or orphanage, dealing with malnutrition, food hoarding, and more.

You will learn from this book how dysfunctional and emotionally fraught many adults' relationship with food is, and how we pass this on to our children unintentionally... especially if they are "picky eaters" or are "overweight". However, the book spends a lot of time showing us how to break this cycle and get out of thinking of foods as "good" or "bad" in favor of a balanced and healthy relationship with our bodies (at any size) and with foods. It's a book about the feeding relationship between parent and child, a relationship which is an important part of attachment for an adopted child.

What's that you say? You want me to cut the chase and get to the giveaway? Fine, then. Here you are: Dr. Rowell has generously offered two autographed copies of the book to give to my readers! There are a number of ways to enter below.

Whether or not you're entering the giveaway, please be sure to leave a comment with your adoption- and foster-related feeding and food related questions for Dr. Rowell to answer in the upcoming Q&A she's generously offered to do here at Fostering Thrifty Families.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NOTE: This giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. 


  1. I've been dying to read this - glad you thought it lived up to the promise. I'd love to hear Katja Rowell's perspective on dealing with pica and anxiety-related food obsessiveness in a pre-schooler adopted as a toddler from foster care.

  2. How do you suggest parents who adopt internationally go about introducing foods to their newly adopted child that are so different from what they are used to eating. Also, for younger children and babies who have not had proper food introduction what is the best way to introduce solids and how long through the stages of baby foods to best help them learn to chew, etc.?

  3. Our issue with out son was a hoarding and compulsive eating issue. No food was safe, especially junk food, which we rarely had, bread, crackers, and cereal. It got so bad that we had to put alarms on the doors and locks on the cupboards. We tried giving him a "safe food" stash, but that didn't deter him a bit. On top of this, he was a poop holder and the eating issues just compounded his digestive issues. What methods do you suggest for this type of food issue?

  4. Do you recommend foster parents leave food accessible, such as bowls of fruit on the counters/basket of snacks on the shelf at kids' level; or just provide healthy meals and snacks on a set schedule? In training we've heard conflicting strategies up to, and including, giving the child their own container to keep wherever they please and allowing them to "hoard sensibly" while helping them clean out the container weekly... What is your best suggestion for dealing with foster children with food issues?

  5. How do you respectfully integrate your own family's eating habits and preferences with a child's? For instance we eat a lot of vegetarian only meals, and not a lot of processed foods. How would we honor a child's past experiences while also, hopefully, demonstrating our own?

  6. I have an adopted son (2 years old) who receives food therapy services due to some sensory issues he will not chew food and we still cannot get him to eat. His doctor and nutritionist has prescribed him Bright Begginings Pediatric Drink to make sure that he is getting proper nutrtion. My question is this I hate giving him three of these a day because he does not eat, what types of food would be good to introduce to him that do not over stimulate him so that he will start eating "normal" foods?

  7. Looks like a wonderful book for any parent to read . How do you help a child heal and stop eating out of the trash.